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On Notable Kansans weighing in against new appellate court selection process


Grump 4 years, 7 months ago

What? Did Six and Tacha not understand their letters praising Caleb would become public and now they are trying to back up? They can't have it both ways.

Yes, there were people more qualified than Caleb who applied. It's an open secret.

smileydog 4 years, 7 months ago

So they believe the process should be open unless they write letters of endorsement and it is made public. Pathetic.

adastraperapathy 4 years, 7 months ago

I think it is very clear that Six and Tacha were criticizing how Brownback has made the process more political. They were not criticizing Mr. Stegall personally, as the article clearly says.

Brad Hall 4 years, 7 months ago

It sounds like the same system we have for federal judges, the President nominates the candidate of their choice and the Senate approves or disapproves them. Kassabaum, Tacha and Six may be right, we may need to revamp the federal system so the "judiciary is [not] under any cloud of suspicion that the selection process is based on anything other than merit and that the judges are answerable to anything other than the law, including the Constitution."

adastraperapathy 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree that it might be better if we were to reform the Federal system.

As it stands, it is much too partisan an affair. But I'm not sure Brownback has ever found any partisanship he doesn't like--it's always helped him in his career.

Still, the Federal system is very different than the state system considering how many staff each full-time US Senator has at their disposal, in addition to the committee staff and partisan staff that contribute to the vetting process.

At the state level, state Senators have virtually none of the same tools.

oldexbeat 4 years, 7 months ago

Gee, I read this differently -- they were both honest about their view of Caleb in writing letters of support, and now are honest about their view of the new secret system. They could not have known that Liar Sammy would hide all the nominations, I would suggest. It is Brownback's dishonesty (what a surprise, man lies all the time) about his desire for a more open system -- hmmm, why did we believe that -- but now censoring the applicants names. This isn't about applying for home room representative. It is about being a judge for ever.

Hardhawk1 4 years, 7 months ago

Six and Tacha were right on both points. Stegall is, by any objective measure, qualified for the Court of Appeals. Was he the most qualified of those who applied? We will never know because of the secrecy. It is possible and consistent to be able to support the nominee's qualifications but feel the process of selection is flawed. That is what happened here. No more, no less.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 7 months ago

I think a current or former district court judge might actually be more qualified to be an appellate court judge than someone who is just a political hack and extremist. But, that's just my view and I wouldn't hire someone to coach a professional sport who hadn't played that sport first either...

Joe Hyde 4 years, 7 months ago

Their objection to the appointment process suggests to me that former judges Six and Tacha, at some point earlier, received in the mail narrowly-worded "qualified for the position" inquiries regarding Mr. Stegall. But regarding Mr. Stegall only. (Had their opinions been solicited regarding any more candidates, I'm certain they would now divulge those names.)

No, I think what happened here is that the honesty of Mr. Six and Ms. Tacha, and especially their professional reputations, were cleverly decoyed. They got suckered, their letters of support cynically exploited to further enhance the authoritarian governing methods of a petty dictator.

Mr. Stegall cannot be blind to the autocratic methodology of the Koch-controlled Kansas legislature. He therefore has an opportunity to enshrine his name as a true believer in the separation of government powers...by voluntarily withdrawing his name from consideration for this appeals court seat prior to Kansas Senate confirmation. He can do it if he faces the hard fact that he, too, is being cynically used in a manner that poisons the legitimacy of the Kansas judicial system.

Grump 4 years, 7 months ago

It is also possible that Six understood exactly what he was doing in writing the letter. Maybe some quid pro quo was offered by the Republicans, and Six won't be blocked from a future 10th Circuit nomination?

adastraperapathy 4 years, 7 months ago

Unlikely. Nancy Moritz was nominated for the Kansas position on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals--an Obama appointment that the far right in Kansas is actually supporting if only to give Brownback an appointment to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Jim Russo 4 years, 7 months ago

I have respect for both Tacha and Six, but I still wonder if they would have written letters of recommendation for Stegall if they had known that he had once endorsed extra-legal action and forcible resistance to the State as a response to a court decision he disagreed with.

Stegall co-signed a 2005 editorial addressing the withholding of feeding to Terri Schindler-Schiavo; Stegall and his co-authors stated if the Florida legislature and Governor Bush failed to intervene, that her family, friends and community would be "morally free to contemplate and take extra-legal action as they deem it necessary to save Terri’s life, up to and including forcible resistance to the State’s coercive and unjust implementation of Terri’s death by starvation."

The editorial may be found in its entirety at http://web.archive.org/web/20050325101241/http://www.newpantagruel.com/issues/2.1/editorial_statement_on_terri_s.php

How can Stegall expect others to follow his court orders if he is confirmed to the bench when he has openly advocated taking the law into one's hands?

Grump 4 years, 7 months ago

Many lawyers did not apply for this Court of Appeals position because to participate in the process impliedly endorses the process. Those who wrote letters of support for Stegall likewise impliedly endorsed the process. Shame on them.

Grump 4 years, 7 months ago

No stretch. It's implicit in participating in the process. Lots opted out because of it.

weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

please compare:

1) In addition, under the nominating commission system, candidates names were made public and even the interview process was open to the public.

2) Brownback has refused to divulge the names of those who applied for the position, saying making the names of candidates public will deter potential candidates from applying.

the governor has no clothes-- that's the only transparency i see here.

kansanjayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Under the old system the Kansas Bar Association is given too much power. They control most of the positions on the nominating commissions. If the nominating commissions are reformed to allow more accountability and public input there might be a way to make the old system work. However, it is presently broken as the legal establishment has much more control over the selection of judges than does the public. The system devised for selection of the appellate nominees is set up much, as is, the Federal system to allow the governor to nominate and the Senate-the elected representatives of the people--to confirm. The legal establishment already has enough power without the power of selecting our Supreme Court and Appellate Court nominees.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm curious - what criteria will the public use to determine qualified applicants, if they have no particular legal knowledge or expertise?

I'd say the better fix would be to allow the nominations to be selected as before, and add Senate confirmation to the process at the end.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

In the previous selection process, 4 on the nominating committee were selected by the Governor, 5 were selected by the Bar Association (one from each of the Congressional Districts, one at large). Would you be happy if 5 were selected by the Governor and 4 by the Bar Association? Would you be happy if the Governor is a Democrat?

Becca McMaster 4 years, 7 months ago

Kansanjayhawk - you are incorrect.
This is the selection/appointment process for members of the Supreme Ct nominating commission: - Four of the Commission's members are non-attorneys appointed by the Governor; - Four are attorneys selected by attorneys in each of the four Congressional Districts; - The Chair is an attorney elected by attorneys in a statewide vote.

The commission isn't dominated by attorneys and the Bar Assn. has no appointment authority.

Your understanding is based on a common falsehood stated by those who want to mislead the public about why they support a political appointment rather than an independent process.

kansanjayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

now just a minute--you say--4 are selected by the governor--4 selected by the bar association in each congressional district--and the chair is appointed by who?--Oh, I see the chair is selected by the bar association...well I guess I was right add it up---4 plus 1 = 5 by lawyers and the bar association 4=governor...that is clearly domination byt he state bar...where in the world do you get off calling it a "common falsehood"? Also, you are assuming the old process is not poltical--try getting a conservative appointed under the old system--it is very difficult...because the process was political...just not accountable to the people!

jimmyjms 4 years, 7 months ago

A link to the op-ed would have been nice.

Garth Atchison 4 years, 7 months ago

I believe this is what is commonly referred to as an "activist judge". Normally, those are words that the right wing likes to use for anyone that disagrees with their position. In this case, it is a political appointment to a position that should be chosen by credentials, but is instead chosen for ideology. They make sure the government doesn't work right, then they make sure the judicial has no connection to the idea of justice, and then they make it difficult to be involved in the process--voter suppression. Basically, they have no respect for the Constitution of the nation nor the state of Kansas, unless it fits their political views.

smileydog 4 years, 7 months ago

Someone who wants to be a judge does it for: Power; Status; or Politics.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

When writing their letters of recommendation, I wonder if Six and Tacha knew of Stegall's writings to take 'extra-legal' action on behalf of Terri Schiavo, his view that the Kansas Supreme Court had no right to rule that the Kansas Legislature should follow their own laws in regards to funding schools, and that the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision was wrong?

juma 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey, little Stevie Six you get what you sow. grow up

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

Aside from changing he process, what is worrisome is the lack of transparency on the part of Brownback. He is hiding the details of the selection process from the public, in my opinion needlessly.

He default to secrecy and hiding are troublesome. He is either ashamed of his role in the process and knows he did something sleazy, or just wants to show that he is in control and can do whatever he wants at any time. I think it is the latter. He wants to dictate, not govern.

2xhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

All this whingeing about the process reminds me of Stalin's response when asked about the Pope's influence on some issue or the other: "The Pope!? How many divisions has he got?" (The Second World War (1948) by Winston Churchill vol. 1, ch. 8, p. 105.)

The Brownbackians, the people who donate to them and the people who vote for them don't give a fig about what you think the democratically ideal way of picking judges is. They care about getting power, then using it.

Did they trick Tacha and Six into making endorsements? Maybe, who cares?

If you want to fight back, work on voter registration and education. Otherwise, go f*** yourselves.

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